Freshening the food offer

Published:  27 June, 2017

Virgin Startups and intu seek out the freshest food retailers

A start-ups competition being run by shopping centre owner intu and Virgin StartUps has shown an increasing number of new businesses are reinventing traditional food and drink products to make it big in the retail industry.

Analysis of entries to Foodpreneur 2017 reveals a threefold increase in the number of food and drink start-ups giving much-loved foodie favourites a modern makeover, making up 42 per cent of this year’s entrants compared to just 13 per cent the last time the competition was run in 2015.

Foodpreneur semi-finalist Nick Coleman is among those to be embracing the trend with his premium pork scratchings brand Snaffling Pig which went on sale at intu Derby from Friday 30th May for one week. He is one of eight new food and drink businesses opening pop-up shops at intu centres across the country as they compete to win six weeks of free space and reach new audiences for the first time.

The boom of healthy food products is another rising trend among Foodpreneur entrants, with more start-ups businesses based around vegan and healthy food applying to take part in the competition than before.

More than a third (35 per cent) of start-ups who entered Foodpreneur 2017 sell products with a health-based benefit, such as gluten free or sugar free, compared to 21 per cent in 2015. 28 per cent of this year’s entrants – up from 16 per cent in 2015 – also now cater for a purely plant-based diet. In addition, there were small increases in the number of start-ups intent on eliminating food waste as part of their business.

The trends among entries reflect some of the forecasts for the food industry made by analysts Mintel earlier this year, which predicted that consumers would be more likely to seek out modernised updates of traditional formats, all-natural products and healthier food in 2017.

intu chief executive David Fischel said: “We know from our history of spotting and introducing ideas to the retail market that the most successful new businesses will tap into evolving trends to develop products that are right for the modern consumer. The entrants to Foodpreneur 2017 are no exception, with a range of new food and drink brands that have been expertly developed with today’s customer in mind.”


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